GOP Convention Ends With Trump Accepting Presidential Nomination
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
But let's ask what we learned from this week's Republican convention here. Yes, a convention is just a big show, a sort of infomercial. But you learn so much from the way the candidate tries to pull it off. Republican analyst John Feehery is still with us, along with NPR's Scott Detrow. And, John, you first. What did you learn?
JOHN FEEHERY: Well, I learned three things. First of all, the most interesting conventions are not necessarily the most well-managed. This convention had a Perils of Pauline kind of aspect to it. But somehow, the Trump organization pulled it off. The second thing I learned is the centrality of Paul Manafort to the Trump operation. Really, without Paul Manafort...
INSKEEP: The campaign chairman - OK.
FEEHERY: Yeah, without him, there'd be no campaign. And the third thing I learned was how impressive the Trump children were, especially Ivanca, who I think has a political future in her.
INSKEEP: She had quite a speech last night and said that she neither identified strongly as a Republican nor a Democrat while speaking up for her father. Scott Detrow, what did you learn?
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: You know, I think over and over again this year, we've talked about how this is an unusual campaign. There's a small staff, decisions made by Donald Trump and his family. They're not running ads, and they're not really consulting data. I think this week, we learned that there are consequences to that.
This was a messy convention. We had two days of news about Melania Trump, you know, cribbing lines from Michelle Obama's speech. We had Donald Trump's big showdown with Ted Cruz because Trump let him have a primetime speaking slot. We had key speakers talking to near-empty halls because of scheduling. These are all problems that a traditional campaign with all those staffers - they would not have had to deal with because they wouldn't have made those decisions.
INSKEEP: Well, John Feehery, I want to ask about the ugliest of all the moments - when Ted Cruz got up. He got that primetime speech. He did not endorse Donald Trump. He was booed. Trump himself appeared. My question is, was that all a mistake? Did the Trump campaign really mess up there or was that how they kind of wanted it to play out?
FEEHERY: Well, I think they had let Ted Cruz hang himself, frankly. You know, Cruz went out, and they saw the speech. They knew what he was going to say, and they let him say it. And I think it hurt Ted Cruz not only with the people in the hall, but also most pundits really believe that this was the end of Ted Cruz's career.
INSKEEP: Does it hurt Donald Trump, though? Because it was this very public announcement that the Republican Party is still not fully united.
FEEHERY: Well, I think it hurt him a little bit because a lot of those Cruz people, the hardcore conservatives, are not going to be for him. But one thing it did do is it eliminated the Melania story from the headlines, and that was very helpful to the Trump campaign.
INSKEEP: (Laughter) It got rid of the plagiarism story. OK, so a benefit there. There we go, (laughter) all right. Well, John Feehery, thank you very much for joining us this morning. I've really enjoyed talking with you.
FEEHERY: Thanks Steve.
INSKEEP: And also, NPR's Scott Detrow has been with us throughout this week. Scott, thanks for coming in night after night. He's been up all night. Scott, thank you very much.
DETROW: It's been a fun week.
INSKEEP: And of course, we're broadcasting here at WCPN ideastream. And thanks very much to them for loaning some of their studios to us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.